Sat-ND, 3.6.96

Sat-ND 96-06-03 - Satellite and Media News

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This issue is sponsored by TELE-satellite, Europe's Satellite Magazine 
Have a look at their homepage! >> http://www.TELE-satellit.com/ <<

Oops now!
Yesterday, an old issue of Sat-ND was erroneously sent instead of the
fresh one -- my apologies. Instead of re-posting it separately, the news
from June 2 is included and updated in this edition.

Space oddity
Speaking to TELE-satellite's Dr Dish, the international satellite
organisation Intersputnik confirmed the presence of a GALS satellite on
36E. But which one is it? The latest Keplerian elements from NASA (June
3, 0755 UTC) now see GALS 1 on 36.1E, just 35 degrees apart from the
position reported a few days before. Congrats!
Anyway, a few mysteries still remain to be solved. How could the satellite
be relocated without anybody, especially NASA and NORAD, noticing it
(until now?) And what is GALS doing in an orbital slot reserved to
EUTELSAT? According to Jean-Philippe Donnio from TBS-satellite, "the
Eutelsat control centre had no information on the arrival of a new
satellite, and the frequency co-ordination bureau received no request for
Meanwhile, reports are coming in on the reception of the new channels
between 34E and 36E. Wayne Tilling has received GALS on its new
position: "I am based in the south of England where ACT be seen right down
to a 90 cm dish (with threshold extension). NTV requires a slightly larger
dish. Nobody I know has seen anything at 11.525 yet!"
In Cairo (Egypt,) Henk Cornelis Room receives a strong signal from 36E on
12.167 GHz rhc although audio reception is a bit noisy sometimes. He has a
Chaparral MC155 and a 2.4 metre dish (8 ft). On 11.844 GHz lhc, there is a
signal present from TV6 but it it's too weak to be resolved.

Light my fire
Henk also reports the first life signs from the Israeli satellite AMOS 1
where several transponders were fired up on frequencies between 10.972 and
11.176 GHz v. The blank carriers he observed yesterday are nothing special
in the centre of the bird's footprint, he writes, but they do indicate
that AMOS 1 is working. According to NASA, the satellite was at 5.4E on
June 29 and at 4.9E one day later. Henk received the test transmissions
from 5.3E.

Land of confusion
Satellite viewers in the Netherlands are becoming a bit nervous by now. It
seems that satellite vendors have received word that RTL and Veronica will
leave analogue ASTRA by mid-August. Unfortunately, that's all most dealers
know. Many have no idea where, when, and how to get the new receivers.
Furthermore, they haven't got a clue what they are supposed to ask for
them. (And some don't even know exactly what NetHold MultiChoice is.) It
has become clear that there won't be enough decoders available by August,
and if there will, still just a few people will be able to install them.
(Jitse Groen)

You are not alone
Mediakabel, US West and Reiss Media will start a new Dutch corporation
competing with NetHold. They will invest approx. 130-200 million Guilders.
The cable companies united in Mediakabel have not yet agreed, but this
deal seems to have many advantages. Mediakabel & Co. will launch several
movie channels, pay-per-view, theme channels, and a channel dedicated to
general news as well as information on cars and computers, just to name
two topics. Playboy and Animal Planet, the new Discovery channel, will
also be carried in the Mediakabel package, which by the way is not likely
to go satellite. (Jitse Groen)

Heartbreak Hotel
Fritz Pleitgen, head of Germany's largest regional public broadcaster WDR,
has expressed his concern of being outmanoeuvred by politicians and
decision-makers. Addressing the congress "Medienforum NRW" in Cologne
today, he claimed that many of them wanted to abolish public broadcasting
in order to raise more money for the forthcoming commercial TV packages.
German pubcasters up to now cash in a total of about DM6 billion fees per
annum for 12 TV and 50 radio channels. Pleitgen stressed the need for
public channels to gain access to the new digital technologies and
distribution paths in order to be able to compete. He predicted the demise
of analogue broadcasting within 20 years from now.

Like a virgin
Ariane 5 is on its launch pad at the European Space Centre in French
Guyana. The rocket today was moved there from the assembly building at a
speed of one mile per hour. Jean-Marc Artaud, head of Ariane-5 ground
operations, expressed his confidence in the Launcher. "The rocket passed
all our tests and the results gave us the green light," he told reporters.
However, he added that bad weather might be ahead, hampering the launch:
"We are in the rainy season." That wouldn't usually pose any problem, but
in this case the separation of the rocket's strap-on boosters has to be
filmed for evaluation purposes. Thus, there are stringent visibility
constraints for the launch to actually take place.

Blue Jean
The European Space ESA agency announced that Tuesday's Ariane Flight 501
(shouldn't they have tried to talk Levi's into sponsoring the event, maybe
by painting the rocket blue?) will be carried on the following
* TELECOM 2C (3E, 12.606 GHz, French audio on subcarrier 5.8 MHz, English
on 6.6 MHz, PAL)
* SBS 6 (99W, 11.921 GHz, English audio on subcarriers 6.60 MHz and 7.20
(There's obviously a mistake in ESA's press release. SBS 6 can be found at
74W while the 99W slot is occupied by GALAXY IV. US viewers should first
try 74W, as SBS 6 seems to be the more obvious choice provided the given
frequency is correct.)
In addition, EUTELSAT will broadcast an ESA/CNES TV special via EUTELSAT
II-F1 (13E,) 11.593 GHz. (CNES of course being the French space agency
that is in charge of the pre-commercial Ariane 5 launches.) Transmissions
will start on June 4 at 1135 GMT and last until 60 minutes after the
The European Space Agency has also set up a very informative Web Site for
Ariane 5, the wonder launcher that carries more weight than its
predecessors while at the same time being more reliable and even cheaper.
"Except for its name, Ariane-5 is totally new and has little to do with
the previous Ariane versions," says Jean-Jacques Dordain, associate
director of strategy for the European Space Agency (ESA). More information
is available on CNES's web pages, too.

Zeroes and Ones
* The World Wide Web is affecting TV viewing as well as reading habits. A
recent study of US consumers by Coopers & Lybrand Consulting has some
interesting implications of the future direction of media developments.
Researchers made out three different kinds of online users: plain browsers
(Netscape?), information seekers (AltaVista?), and communicators (IRC,
news groups?). But in any case, TV viewing decreases amongst Netizens,
while print media sales get boosted. Probably all those nice books
explaining how to do this or that in the Internet, which are still more
comfortably read than online documentation. Coopers & Lybrand estimates
the spending on book and magazine guides to the Internet between US$300
and US$600 million annually. 58 per cent of Internet users indicated they
rather spend their time online than watching television. Nonetheless,
users how a strong interest on satellite connections to the Internet. 
* Singapore strives to become the first fully-networked society. The
country's government wants to spend US$58.5 million on connecting all
homes, schools and businesses electronically until 2001. (Apparently not
much, but remember, it's a small country with less than 3 million
inhabitants.) One in three households already has a computer, and up to 10
percent of the population regularly use the Internet. But not all of it,
as the government has ordered Internet providers to block access to
materials hinging on sex, politics and religion.
* Politicians from the US House of Representatives have embarked on an
Internet war. There are pages from the Republicans (the majority) as well
as the Democrats (the minority,) and all of them were accessible from the
House's mainpage  until recently, when the majority decided to revamp the
site. Now, anybody in search of Democratic views has to scroll through
Republican rhetoric and, even worse, a large photograph of the Republican
chairman. Should any of the Republican-controlled committees should decide
not to have a web site of their own, the Democrats will automatically be
switched off, too.

Thanks to our contributors 
Dr Dish: drdish@cuci.nl
Jean-Philippe Donnio: jpdonnio@tags1.dn.net
Jitse Groen: jgl@dds.nl
Henk Cornelis Room: hcroom@intouch.com
Wayne Tilling: 100616.2734@CompuServe.COM

Copyright 1996 by Peter C. Klanowski, pck@LyNet.De. All rights reserved.

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